Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Growing in Unity: Day Two

Good morning!  Happy Tuesday to you.

Today is Day Two of my Growing in Unity week.  I'm sharing projects created with Unity Stamp Company's wonderful red rubber cling stamps, each day, Monday through Friday this week.  Today's post is VERY picture heavy, but I hope some of the information I share might be helpful to some.

There really is nothing better than red rubber stamps.  Even though you can not see through them like a clear photo-polymer stamp, the red rubber gives fabulous crisp images, and the red rubber can give much more fine detail than a clear stamp.

Unity Stamp Company offers three subscription programs:  The Kit of the Month, the S.M.A.K. kit (Scrapbooking, Mixed Media, Altered Art Kit), which are a both full sheet of red rubber stamps and a smaller kit, called Uniquely Unity.  I have been subscribing to the first two full-sheet kits for years.  They are such a bargain.  Each month's kit, contains many images and sentiments that generally center around a theme.  It's always exciting to see the sneak peak of each month's kit online, and then I anxiously await delivery!  Here are this month's kits:

Uniquely Unity
(This is the one I do not subscribe to. Yet.)

Kit of the Month


S.M.A.K.

You can find out more about these Subscription programs HERE.

Because my original enrollment date was early in the month, my subscription kits arrive in a padded shipping envelope rather early each month, and here are my November kits!  I was so excited for those trees!!  I'll be using those in my first project today.


I knew just what I wanted to do when I first saw those trees in the online sneak peek.  I wanted to make a card with Santa and his sleigh soaring above the treetops, so I first needed to create a background.  I wanted a silhouette of Santa in front of a bright full moon, so my first step was to create a mask to protect the moon.  I used a 1 3/4 circle punch to cut out a circle from 2" Post-it tape.


I used the moon mask to protect the white of my cardstock panel as I was ink-blending my sky.


But then I decided the white of the cardstock was just too stark, so I added just a bit of yellow over my moon.


I used my Original MISTI to stamp a crisp black image of Santa and his sleigh.  The Santa stamp was in the September Kit of the Month, All Kinds of Love.  



I then added the sentiment from Comfort to Go using my MISTI, and then used the skinny pine tree from this month's kit, Wonder, and an acrylic stamp block to stamp my trees along the bottom.  I used navy blue ink, and stamped many times: full strength ink, a second time without re-inking (second generation), and a third time without re-inking (third generation).  This gave me a look of depth to my forest of trees.  


Sometimes people ask me how I can mix and match images and sentiments to create my cards so easily.  I'm going to share my secret:

I have a database program that syncs on all of my devices, desktop computer, laptop, ipad and iphone.  I use the program called Evernote to keep an inventory of all my stamps.  Evernote is a note-taking app that has way more capabilities than I know how to use, but I still love it.  I use it in its most basic form, primarily for the search feature.  There are options for creating categories, and sub-categories, but I don't really mess around with doing that.  I basically have one huge folder, that contains hundreds of notes.  I create a "note" for each one of the stamp sets or kits that I own.  Here are some screen shots of how I created a note for Wonder, my November kit of the month.

Once I opened the program, (which actually stays open on my desktop almost all of the time), I use my cursor to open a "New Note" under the file menu.

This will open a new window with the note  (the center box). Then I open my browser, and adjust the size of the window to fit side by side with my Evernote window to make it easy to see both. I then search the Unity Stamps website for the newest Kit of the Month (when the kit is brand new, it only appears on the subscription page), right click their image photo and copy photo.


Now I can go to that untitled New Note screen and paste the Kit of the Month photo that I copied into the body of this new note.


Next, I give the note a title.  I add the name of kit, the company, and the date.


Now here's what is truly magical:  

In the upper bar of my new note screen, there is a box to add "tags".   Tags are key words that will be linked to this particular note, and if I were ever to want to use the search feature on the Evernote program, all I do is enter the word I am searching for.   In this "add tag" box, I add a tag for EVERYTHING.  


Here is the list of search tags I added for this Kit:


I've tagged the company, typed in every sentiment - all of it, added a tag that identifies each general image, as well as various themes that the images may fit into, etc..  You can add as many tags as you want here.

These tags are so helpful.  Someday, when I want to create a card wishing someone well on a new adventure, or a job change or move.  I can search just the word "adventure" in Evernote on any of my synced devices and the program will show me the notes, and photos of the sets that I have that contain the adventure tag, as well as any sentiment stamp that I own that contains the word adventure.

Here is a screen shot of what that search looks like on my iphone (YES.  It syncs to stay current on all of your devices!):


  It shows that in my entire stamp inventory, I have 13 notes that are tagged Adventure.  I can now click on any of the thumbnail images, to take a peek at the sets/kits to see if any of the highlighted images or sentiments would be a perfect fit for my project.

Adventure is the theme of my next project.  This card could be used for a wide variety of occasions: a move, a new job or job transfer, heading off to college, etc..



This image from the November 2019 Kit of the Month, Wonder; and is an Angie Girl, designed my Angie Blom.  Quite often, a new Angie Girl image appears in the Kit of the Month subscription kits.  Illustrator Angie Blom designs many of the stamps that are included in the Kit of the Months.

I stamped the image of the girl and her luggage onto a panel of Fabriano Artistico cold press watercolor panel using Fade Out ink using my MISTI.  After stamping the image, I left the stamp in place in the MISTI.   

I was at home the day I made this card, so I used Distress Inks to paint this image.  Distress inks are a great and simple way to experiment with watercoloring.  They move incredibly well on the paper, and many people already own them, (and likely own the full set of 60 colors).  To do this, I took my Distresss ink cubes, and just squished the ink pad directly onto my craft mat, leaving a rectangle splotch of ink.  This ink splotch was now my watercolor medium which I simply picked up from a palette with my damp paintbrush.

I painted the background first, loosely adding rectangular swatches of ink to create the impression of a city scape.  (I needed to be sure my background idea worked before I put time into painting the focal image.)  I was careful to let each color dry before switching colors.  I didn't want to risk the colors blending, and resulting in a muddy look.  Once I was happy with my background, I painted the girl and her luggage.  

When my panel was fully dry, I put it back into my MISTI and heat embossed the image with clear embossing powder.  This put a bit of the details that I lost back into the image, especially in her hair, and her boots. I also added the greeting (also from Wonder) with dark brown ink, cleaned my stamp while still in place, then stamped over it with embossing ink and heat embossed it with clear embossing powder as well.

Now I'm going to share my secret to storing these large subscription kits.  

These kits have so many stamps included, that once you have fully separated the stamps from their sheet of rubber, then can end up in a big pile at the bottom of the bag.  
Here is my secret:

I slide the whole sheet of rubber to my work surface, face down.
Then I remove the paper backing from each of the stamps.  Some people save these backings to use as masks, but I do not.  I toss them.


Next I find one of these EZ Mount storage panels.


And  place it over the whole sheet of rubber and give it a little pressure over the whole panel. The stamps will cling to the coated surface of the storage panel.


Then I flip it over, and often holding each stamp in place on the storage panel, peel away all the excess rubber and dispose of it.  


Now I am left with all the stamps in place on my storage panel. 


I can now slide it, along with the printed image sheet, back into the ziplock bag it arrived in.  I use my Brother label maker to print a simple label, and put it away in chronological order on my shelf.

The storage panel is sturdy enough to hold all the stamps, and to be stored standing up!


Here are some of my Unity stamps in, and on top of my ancient IKEA storage cabinet.



Well, thats enough for today.  That was a LOT.  If you made it this far, thank you.  I appreciate you being here and hope you found a bit of useful information.  I'll be back with more projects tomorrow, as well as share my storage tips for the smaller Unity Stamp kits/sets.

Pssst!  If you would like to be entered to win a prize pack of amazing Unity Stamp Company's stamps, just leave a comment below.  Unity has generously offered a prize pack for me to giveaway to TWO lucky commenters this week!

Thank you, and I hope you come back tomorrow.  I'll be here.  I just may be snowed in.
Have a fantastic day.









66 comments:

  1. Gorgeous cards!!! Great tips for organizing. Thank you!!!!

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  2. I love what you did with both images, but that girl is beyond awesome. While I have re-stamped after I am done coloring, I never thought to do it with clear embossing when doing the no line technique. I will be sure to try it.

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  3. Wonderful cards! thank you for sharing your talents.
    stamping sue
    http://stampingsueinconnecticut.blogspot.com/

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  4. Beautiful cards! Your talent for watercolor is amazing! I have Evernote but I only use it for the very basic use. I have my stamps list broken into categories, ie... Unity, Angie girl, or Unity, Itty bitty, etc. I may need to research Evernote a little further to see what all the options are!

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  5. What a beautiful card! You make it sound so easy!

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  6. I Love that Santa!
    I have been toying with the idea of Evernote. Now would be the time to start,I don't have tons of stamps,so maybe I wouldn't be overwelmed getting them all entered?
    Will be referring to your notes to do it for sure.
    Thank you for that.

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    1. One set at a time is all it takes. Also use company stock images, they’re smaller in resolution and won’t eat up your free storage limits.

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    2. Once you get started, it actually goes pretty fast. As you start building your tag list, the tags will self-populate, so if the correct info pops up, you just hit enter and continue. If it's incorrect, just keep typing. I started my Evernote in 2011. I spent an hour or three everyday for about 2 weeks, to get my inventory in. Now, If I'm really on top of things (which happens rarely), I add the set to a new note while I'm waiting for my order to arrive. If not, I keep any new purchase/non-inventoried item in a separate bin until I do enter it into Evernote. If I put it away, then it's too hard to find again. LOL

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  7. Your no line card is amazing!Thank you for all the storage tips & Evernote is going on my IPad today!

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  8. So creative, this is really beautiful and explained so well!

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  9. your cards are stunning, and I'm blown away by how organized you are!

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  10. Beautiful cards! And love your tips and techniques!

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  11. Super cards! I love your ink blended sky in the Santa card! How you water color and still give good definition of line and shading is fabulous..., can you teach my to color in various media? . .. you are amazing at them all!

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  12. I love the card of the girl! It would be perfect to send to my friend’s daughter, who is about to move to NYC for her first job out of college! Truly an adventure!

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  13. I loved your whole explanation of not only Unity stamps (UU, KOM..) but your cards as well. That Christmas card is everything; so beautiful! Thank you for day 2

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  14. WOW!!! I only wish for that much organization! I am tech impaired so would never get there! Your cards are gorgeous and am thinking I may use your inspiration for some of my Christmas cards!

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  15. You wow us again! Nice cards

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  16. Your work is amazing! I had no idea that Unity had monthly kits! I learned a lot from you today! Thank you!💕

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  17. Have mercy! This post is incredible! So much precious time saving tips and gorgeous creations! I wanna CASE your soaring Santa card! I just moved and think it’s a perfect CAS design I can whip out quickly.
    I bought and started Evernote over a year ago because of you. It’s been a game changer! Time consuming in the beginning but so worth it!
    Thanks Chris!

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  18. Great post! Thanks for the info on how to use Evernote. I’ve wondered how that works. And your cards are great, too. Didn’t know you could use distress inks as watercolors.

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  19. great ideas. i'm impressed with your organizing skills. it's not for me but i appreciate it in others. I love your Angie girl looking over the city. it does look hand drawn and watercolored.

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  20. WOW WOW WOW! These are both amazing! I NEED to get all my set on Evernote! It's going to take forever :)

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  21. Thank you so much for explaining in such detail the evernote program. I know many Stampers who use it, but it is a daunting task when I think of entering details of more than 30 years of stamps! Then I wonder about extinct companies or stamps that have retired. How do you enter those??? I love your cards, especially the girl and the city!! 💜🌵

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    1. Some of my older retired sets, I had to enter a photo (that I took) of the set/packaging itself into my Evernote note. You can enter your own photos; of your own cards, inspiration photos, color combos... It's pretty limitless. Someday I'll actually learn about all the features and perhaps get more technical, but for now, it does exactly what I need it to.

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  22. These are simply amazing, wow!!! And your tips are great, will take a look into Evernote and how to add those files and images!!! Looks awesome!

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  23. Beautiful card! Thanks for all of the tips on organizing our stamps!

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  24. Gorgeous cards! I really appreciate the storage tips, super helpful.

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  25. Great tips! I really love that Santa card.

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  26. Fabulous cards! I loved to see how you did them, and you have such great ideas for storage too

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  27. I love your girl visiting the city. It reminds me of myself in NYC.

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  28. Great cards. Thanks for sharing your stamp storage system!

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  29. Love your techniques. Am just beginning to experiment with watercolor. Am in the process of trying to organize my stamps better. Have Evernote but didn't think of using it this way. Thanks!

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  30. Your cards are gorgeous! I'm afraid I have let myself get behind on adding stamps to Evernote. It's not going to be fun to figure out what has been entered or not, when I do get around to it.

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  31. Such great information!! I've been trying to keep up with Evernote as I buy stamps as well as enter all those from the past. Love all the helpful hints - will definitely be trying some! Lovely cards too!

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  32. I love this card, it is beautiful. I love the extra interpretations you added. It is amazing!

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  33. Your Santa & his sleigh card is stunning! Organization is one of the hardest parts of this hobby! Thanks for sharing your tricks.

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  34. Your cards are amazing! I love the mixing and matching of stamps/sentiments. I love seeing your water coloring. It's amazing. And great tips on cataloging and tagging stamp sets and your storage tips. Thanks for the info and the inspiration!

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  35. Wow, I loved your thorough explanation of your storage tips! And the pictures were so helpful! One of the main reasons I have shied away from the KOTM or SMAK is because of the storage piece and the retrieval piece. I was afraid I would never know what I had, let alone how to find it. This looks very doable. I'd beard people mention Evernote but didn't know how it worked. Thanks so much for the great explanation. A d your cards are gorgeous...especially that skyline you painted!

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  36. Chris, I am so very wow-ed by your water color! I love it!

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  37. Both cards are awesome. Thank you for all if the tips on storing and organizing all of your stamps!

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  38. Lovely card! I also enjoyed seeing how you organize your stamps!

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  39. Love your card. Thank you for sharing.

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  40. you are so full of awesome tips ... and your projects are amazing too ... so fun seeing you here this week.

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  41. Some pretty cool organizing ideas! And again, I love that watercolor card! Going all excited over the ideas your giving me.

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  42. Great cards and I appreciate the info on Evernote. One question is do you use a free version or is there a paid version that's better?

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    1. I started with the free version. But as I was building my database, I was at my limit rather quickly. I do use the premium version with the annual subscription. It offers a few more search options, and also allows you the option to share your notes with friends (who are also premium members).

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  43. Thank you for sharing your cards, and your storage idea! Very cool! Hapoy Thanksgiving!

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  44. Great cards and great tips! Thanks!

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  45. Great cards and great tips! Thanks!

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  46. What beautiful cards! Love the scene with Santa, reindeer and sleigh! And you Angie Girl image is so gorgeous! Lovely scene and a fab background!

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  47. I love everything about this card!
    Thanks for all of the great tips too.

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  48. Wow. That was an amazing blog! I also use Evernote. Great explanation of how it works. Also, I love the way you store your KOMs. Can't wait til tomorrow with more helpful tips

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  49. Your cards are amazing LOVE them all and love all your tips

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  50. Thank you for all the tips you are offering us. I am unable to get KOTM because of cost but I love the card you made of girl with suitcase.

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  51. Just got my November KOM - that girl is gorgeous! Beautiful cards and great tips for organizing craft supplies! Thank you!

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  52. What a wonderful card. I hope to try the no-line coloring soon. Yours is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your talents.

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  53. I love your blog name...btw. Wonderful cards... Love your tips!

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  54. You are so talented it takes my breath away. Your 2nd card - painting - is stunning.

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  55. You are full of good tips...glad I found your blog!!!

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  56. Great tips today. Your card is lovely.

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  57. Great information today. thank you. Beautiful cards. You are on a roll

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  58. Beautiful card, and your kit/month storage is wonderful. The way you mount is an eye opener too. I haven't attempted an inventory system yet, yours looks like a really good one! Thank you.

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  59. Your posts this week have been so informative. I truly appreciate all of the explanations and details. And I love seeing your cards!

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  60. Great cards! You make me want to get Evernote but it seems like it would be overwhelming at this stage of my stamp addiction! 😂

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